Small businesses impacted by wildfires need real financial assistance, not some make work project according to the MLA for the Cariboo-Chilcotin.
“I see a recovery plan happening with 4 pillars and there’s nothing in there about financial assistance to anybody,” says Donna Barnett.
“It’s all about maybe we can have somebody sit down with businesses and talk to them, and look at a long term plan, we could maybe do a little bit of infrastructure with local governments. That’s not what people need; people need financial assistance to keep what they got.”
Many operators in which their biggest month for business are July and August, have lost it all according to Barnett.
She says that is why she requesting that the Government eliminate all property tax for 2018 for those impacted in which the Province would be responsible for the whole amount.
“Many of them when they were evacuated naturally they had to close their businesses and then of course when they came back and reopened things were not the same. Business, of course, was down because we didn’t have tourism, we didn’t have people working. As far as the tourism industry, most tourism operators had no or very few guests the whole season. Highway 20 was closed most of the time, and when it wasn’t people were scared to come because it may close, you had highway 24 who was on evacuation alert, the smoke was incredible.”
Funding for two tourism associations to help with tourism-related impacts from the BC Wildfires was announced today by the Province. The Thompson-Okanagan Tourism Association (TOTA) and the Kootenay Rockies Tourism Association will receive $200,000 each.
“The Province is assessing the needs of those affected by the wildfires in order to support them in the best way possible in the days and weeks ahead,” the Ministry of Tourism, Arts, and Culture said a news release.